Microsoft’s newfound relationship with Open Source

Breaking new grounds with Canadian OSS influencers ❤

Ahmad Nassri
4 min readMay 25, 2016
Tommy & Rami opening remarks

Earlier this month Microsoft Canada hosted an event titled “Open Source Connection” gathering a number of “influencers” from the Canadian development community.

I’ll be the first to admit, the words “Open Source” and “Microsoft” are not ones I’m used to saying in the same sentence, so when the invite arrived in my inbox I was curious:

Join us for a Microsoft Open Source Event focused on bringing together the country’s brightest and best influential Open Source community members to generate inspiration to innovate, share best open source practices and have some geeky fun.

We would love to collaborate with you on shaping the future of Microsoft with Open Source technologies and gather feedback on what Microsoft can do better.

Microsoft today is a very different company. Who would have thought that Microsoft would bring native bash support to Windows? From once waging war on Linux to having Linux as a first class citizen in Azure, with the goal to become the best cloud platform to run open source.

Microsoft is wholeheartedly embracing open source!

My opinion of and relationship with Microsoft started shifting with the 2014 announcement of open sourcing .NET, laying the foundation for a cross platform .NET! truly a historic moment in the tech industry!

I now find myself a regular user of Azure, Visual Studio Code, ChakraCore, Typescript (to name a few) as well as many more of the new Microsoft Open Source products, tools, and libraries.

So naturally I was not only excited to attend this event but also honored to be included!

The event featured an excellent opening keynote by my friend: Frédéric Harper (With great power comes great responsibility) reminding us of the importance of our role as influencers in the Open Source community and the responsibilities that role brings.

Christina Truong followed in the same spirit, with a critical aspect of working in the Open Source world: How to Give & Take Constructive Feedback.

Morten Rand-Hendriksen then took us on a philosophical journey pondering the Ethics and the Promise of Open Source.

Ari and Hannah from WearHacks shared their story and mission to to create the world’s largest network of emerging technology enthusiasts.

Matthew Potter as usual in his unique and energetic style, wrapped up by a challenge to Internationalizing Peer Programming through Live Coding!

Beyond the presentations, the attendance was a who’s who of the Canadian Open Source community, (see the end of this post for a list of those awesome folks), which meant the conversations and discussion afterwards were as interesting as the presentations themselves (if not more)!

Thai Food + Talking Tech = Win!

The Microsoft team (Rami, Johandrina, Simran, Bruce, Keith) lead by Tommy Lewis did not only do an excellent job organizing this event, they also lead breakout sessions with small, but intimate group of attendees to gather feedback about Microsoft as a company, its’ products and services, and how to improve and expand their Open Source efforts!

Many tech companies claim a close relationship with the development community, but rarely do you actually witness those companies sitting face to face with the community asking for feedback, vigorously writing down notes to share with the rest of the organization!

Canadian Open Source Influencers

The following lists some of the awesome folks who attended the event. Find them online and get in touch!

We are all committed to helping the community, whether you’re a developer or not, technology is a part of our daily lives, and we love sharing our experiences!

Note: This list is a tiny sample of the entire Open Source Community in Canada, there are many more awesome folks out there that graciously donate their time and knowledge to help others! make sure to say Thank you next time you come across one!

I’m always happy to share a high five ✋



Ahmad Nassri

Co-Founder @, Advocate of all things Open Source, Startup Advisor, Entrepreneur. Previously: npm, TELUS, Kong, CBC